Robert Gates was in the news a lot when his memoir Duty first hit the stores.
Then Hurricane Christie made land and the stunning nature of much of what Gates wrote lost center stage.
I caught up with Gates just yesterday --publishers still haven't figured out that talk radio sells books and generates buzz at least as easily as all but the biggest television audiences-- and the complete transcript of that conversation is here.
The book is full of many more headlines than actually emerged after its publication, because the Manhattan-Beltway media elites apparently put the book down when Bridgegate erupted, or never got past the index read that itself stopped with Biden, Clinton, and Obama.
Some key revelations in the book and from the interview:
*The Chinese in nominal charge of the government of the People's Republic often did not know what the People's Liberation Army was doing, and the PLA often acted without the consent of the senior leadership of the government.
*Hillary almost certainly tipped the scales for the president on the original intervention into Libya.
*Gates, a budget hawk and budget cutter, rejects the plan to cut carrier groups, reduce retirement COLAs for active duty career military or recent retirees ("my assumption was that those who were in the service then or had been in the service would be grandfathered,") or reduce eligibility for TriCare Prime.
*Gates is expansive on Vladimir Putin, and America should listen. "Putin is bad for Russia," Gate told me. "And I think right now, it’s the Russians that are paying the greatest cost for him being in power." Gates added that "Putin’s a man of the past. He’s all about lost glory, lost empire, lost power."
*On Bush, post 9/11: " Had I been in office at the time, I’m not sure I would have differed with his approach."
*On Libya, I asked: "Had the Secretary of State not urged intervention, do you think the President would have done it?" The former Secretary of Defense responded: "I think he might well not have. He told me it was an extremely close decision on his part. It was an extremely close call."